by Casting Director, Terry Berland
The Players Involved In the Booking Process
Hello and welcome to the first of many communications to you. I am pleased to bring you information that will help make you be the best that you can be, and have an enjoyable experience doing what you love to do most.
What gives you the competitive edge? Certainly talent, but also knowledge and understanding of the “game” you are playing in; where you fit in. Knowledge is power (Sir Francis Bacon). The knowledge will enable you to feel a part of “the system”. I guarantee you that you are an integral part of the casting process.
I’ll start out with two bold statements. Casting Directors are nothing without good actors. And…..you should feel a positive force behind you when you audition.
You get the call, e-mail or text that you have received an audition time. You are in your own environment getting ready, you get yourself to the audition and then it happens. You walk into the reception area and there you are with many other actors auditioning for the same part. You sign in and see pages of other sign-in sheets and you know there will be many more people signing in after you. You are brought into the room quickly, get on your mark, do your thing, thanked and quickly the next person or group is brought in. You just might loose sight of your importance. Your mind might start playing negative tricks with you.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS. As soon as you walk into that reception area you should feel an important part of the process. You were given that time slot. As a Casting Director, we are depending on every person we bring in to make us look good. You are a reflection of our taste and knowledge of talent. Your Agent wants you to audition well because you are a reflection of whom they represent and their taste in talent, and the entire creative team wants you to do well because they want lots of top quality selections. So everyone is rooting for you. There is no one who wants you to do a bad job. (Well maybe an unprofessional actor waiting to get into the room after you. But they don’t count.)
Who is this creative team that is selecting you? There could be as many as 8 people in determining who gets booked.
Here are the players:
Casting Director- I select you to audition because I feel you are right for the part. You look right, I quickly sense the personality from your photo or demo reel and I again quickly visualize you in the scene and sense you saying the lines (if there are any).
Your audition gets sent out to the creative team.
TIER TWO: CREATIVE TEAM SELECTION
The Casting Director is out of the selection process at this point. We will call this layer of players the Creative Team. Selects are made as to who will get called back by the Producer, Director, Art Director and Writer.
Director- The director is hired to enhance the creativity of the spot.
Producer- At the ad agency. The Producer works in tandem with the Art Director and Writer. He/she overlooks the creativity and budget of the spot.
Writer and Art Director (work as a team). They are responsible for the words, look, concept and execution of the concept.
Writer -comes up with the concept and writes the words
Art Director- Enhances the concept creating the look of the spot and the storyboards.
The ad agency Producer, Writer, Art Director and Director decide who will be called back and are at the call back and make their selections to present for approval by the other players integral to the booking process.
THIRD TIER OF APPROVALS
The creative team sends their selections out to the ad agency
Creative Supervisor- Supervises the creativity of the spot
Creative Director- Heads the ad agencies’ creative feel
Account Executive– Liaison between the ad agency and client
It is very important to realize that everyone’s intention is to be creative (that’s why they are hired) and also please the client. They are also required to stay within certain guidelines that the client has set up. The question becomes how far can they push their creativity and still please the client.
FINAL FOURTH TIER OF APPROVAL
Client- The person representing the product being advertised.Everyone is basically working for the client.
All the selections are presented to the client at a pre-production meeting. Because the ad agency usually comes to the call back and certainly to the shoot, everything from call backs to shoot happens very quickly to utilize everyone’s time efficiently. Coming from an ad agency background, myself, I have seen as many as 22 people at these meetings. The meeting can take hours for every detail regarding the production to be gone over. Casting, of course, is a large part of the process.
The production company Producer gives casting a call with final booking approvals. We, then, call you or your Agent to book you! Casting, ad agency, production company and clients are very happy. They have their cast!
So the next time you walk into the waiting room of a casting office armed with this information, have fun. Know we are appreciative that you gave us your best work and joined us in this crazy process.
Any reproduction or usage of this article on other websites must be credited to Terry Berland, Casting Director and linked back to here.
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Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voice-over, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development and is the co-author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”